During the summer I was interviewed in the French magazine Style for an article about beach movies. The writer stumbled on my website and that I authored the book Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969. Article is in French but my friend Michael Carroll translated my quotes:
Bottom of the first column on p. 70.
“At that time, most adolescent films were about juvenile delinquents or biker gangs. Teens were sick of always being portrayed as thugs. It was at that time that Gidget suddenly appeared and they were seen as young people who just wanted to spend time at the beach. That was a turning point in portraying youth on screen,” explains Thomas Lisanti, author of the authoritative book on the subject, Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave. Since then, from Where the Boys Are to Bikini Beach and Beach Party, the beach was everywhere, brought on by the explosion of surfing around the world and the enthusiasm …
… explains Thomas Lisanti, “The very first beach movies showed surfers who smoked, hung out and drank beer. But when the producers realized how much money they could make from this audience composed mainly of teenagers, they realized their films should become more family-oriented. In films that came next, like Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach, they even did without alcohol. The characters started drinking Coca Cola and relationships suddenly became platonic. It was this conformism that would end this first wave of beach movies. In the middle of the 1960’s, the US was in complete upheaval. Torn between the march for civil rights, the Vietnam War, the arrival of new drugs, free love, the youth of America were no longer living in the innocent and chaste utopia of beach movies. They preferred instead biker films, hippie musical comedies and later, the first music videos on MTV. [I think you said all that. The French sometimes neglect to close quotes. The reader is supposed to figure it out.]
Generation Spring Break
“Now I find this terribly vulgar,” our beach movie expert, Thomas Lisanti, exclaims. [He was talking about reality TV.]